What is it?
A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the same size as a grain of rice. It is placed under the skin with a needle a little bigger than a vaccination needle.
Microchipping your Pet
As a volunteer in many shelters over the years, I have sadly seen animals end up as heartbroken or frightened shelter animals even though it was clear they were someone's pet, because not only is there no collar, there is no microchip. Lost pet notices don't always work. Microchips always do.
Does it hurt? Is it surgery?
It is no more painful than a typical injection. No surgery or anesthesia is required—a microchip can be implanted during a routine veterinary office visit.
How does it work?
The microchip itself does not have a battery—it is activated by a scanner that is passed over the area, and the radiowaves put out by the scanner activate the chip. The chip transmits the identification number to the scanner, which displays the number on the screen. When an animal is found and taken to a shelter or veterinary clinic, one of the first things they do is scan the animal for a microchip. If they find a microchip, and if the microchip registry has accurate information, they can quickly find the animal's owner.
This is why its good to have not only your home and mobile number, but the numbers of your Vet and Pet Sitter, or some form of alternate contact. I always list my Vet, Pet Sitter, and a close friend or family member.
Sources: AVMA.org, hollybankvets.co.uk